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9,000-plus prayer cards evidence
intercession for Acteens convention

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Jesus wasn’t in the construction business but he certainly understood a significant construction principle: If you’re going to build a house, build it on a solid foundation.

Planners for the National Acteens Convention (NAC) applied that wisdom as they prepared for this year’s event held at the Nashville Convention Center July 29-Aug. 1. They developed interactive missions displays for their Global Village exhibits to bring missions to life. They planned for nearly 6,500 teenage girls and their leaders to divide into groups to work in 68 Nashville-area schools preparing for the first day of classes. They designed T-shirts and other “NACcessories” to sell, such as cell phone cases. They even took the mass of people to a Nashville Sounds minor league baseball game.

But all that stuff is the house. The “house” looked great and the four-day event came off without a hitch. Attribute it to a firm foundation: prayer.

“We wanted God to move this week in the lives of these young women,” said Sheryl Churchill, national Woman’s Missionary Union ministry consultant and chairman of the NAC prayer team. “That’s why more than a year ago we asked Acteens, Acteens advisers, WMU and other missions leaders, church staff, youth and youth leaders to participate in a prayer covenant for NAC.”

The call to prayer was titled, “The Habakkuk Movement,” and is taken from the Scripture passage Habakkuk 1:5: “Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told.”

Churchill believes the ultimate promise of that passage lived out in the lives of the girls who attended NAC may not be realized for years, but she also has seen God “amaze” the leaders as they’ve planned for the event.

“So many positive things have happened during our preparation that can’t be explained apart from God,” she said.

Articles began appearing more than a year ago in Accent, the publication for Acteens, to focus the girls’ prayer attention so that they systematically prayed for girls and women around the world. The Acteens website, www.acteens.com, and the official website of the National Acteens Convention, www.SyncroNations.com, also supported the prayer focus. In addition, e-newsletters were sent directly to more than 300 prayer covenant participants, or “pray-ers”, offering updated, specific requests to help lead them in prayer.

Acteens are used to praying for others as part of their missions education. But to be prayed for specifically is having others do unto them.

“It was our desire to place in each girl’s registration bag a handwritten, personal note of encouragement and so each would know that someone was praying specifically for them during their time in Nashville,” Churchill said. “The goal was 6,800 cards but God provided 9,022. Proof that with God all things are possible. This was a real answer to our prayers as planners.” Cards poured in from Mission Friends, GAs, Acteens, WMU executive board members, state WMU staff members, associational WMU leaders, pastors, directors of missions, youth ministers, missionaries and many others.

“Because we received so many prayer cards, we were able to give one to each of the local volunteers, missionaries, program personnel, onsite WMU staff, onsite coordinators for community service projects, staff members of the Nashville Baptist Association and staff members of the Tennessee WMU office in addition to each of the girls and leaders,” Churchill said. “Everyone involved had someone praying for them this week.”

In the general session on Thursday evening, the girls were asked to bring the prayer card they received upon registration. As the girls looked at their cards, Kym Mitchell, design editor for WMU’s student resource team, impressed upon them that the person who penned their personal note had been praying specifically for them.

“We are so thankful for the countless people who believe in us at WMU and our work enough to take the time to write a personal note of encouragement and commitment to prayer for the NAC participants,” Churchill said. “NAC is designed to help the girls here learn to see God’s activity in the world. I believe He will amaze these girls as they allow Him to work in their lives and seek their place in His plan.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: TIME TO PRAY and PRAYER CIRCLE.